Evil Flutes and Driving Lessons: Sleepy Hollow‘s “Go Where I Send Thee”

This week’s Sleepy Hollow gave us one of the scariest demons yet, a child in danger, Hawley being all mercenary and stuff, Abbie being even more heroic than usual, and ICHABOD DRIVING. Good work, television show!

A little girl is walking into the woods…this can’t go well. But before we even focus on her, we cut to something even more terrifying: Ichabod’s first driving lesson with Abbie! But after seeming nervous, Ichabod suddenly whips the car around the parking lot like he’s been driving all his life. Between his confidence and her odometer, Abbie correctly surmises that he’s been getting private lessons from Jenny. Ichabod curses Ben Franklin once again, this time for creating the odometer.

As they get out of the car, the show does one of its whiplash swerves into poignancy: Ichabod knows that Abbie is desperate to teach him about banking, driving, and other trappings of modern life because she’s afraid he’ll be lost if she dies first. Ichabod uses all three of Abbie’s names to reassure her that whether they find victory or defeat, they’ll do it together.

Awww—but wait, there’s an Amber Alert! And Abbie knows the family! (Which shouldn’t be a surprise, since she’s one of the main cops in a small town…) So with a stern “Not so fast, Ricky Bobby,” she takes her keys back and they head off to the case.

The missing child’s name is Sarah Lancaster. Naturally, the family is descended from a Revolutionary War soldier, Daniel Lancaster, and of course Ichabod couldn’t stand him. Oh, and the Lancasters have a connection Abbie’s past: the missing girl’s mom was Abbie’s caseworker! The two set off into the woods to search for Sarah, but find a creepy flute carved out of a human bone instead. Ichabod carefully wipes it with a handkerchief in order to play it, which really, as a cop, Abbie should yell at him and explain modern forensics, maybe? But when Ichabod blows into it, he finds that Abbie is indeed as easy to play upon as this pipe, because she promptly goes into a trance and walks swampwards. Which leads, inevitably, to the greatest sentence ever uttered by Tom Mison: “This instrument belongs… to The Pied Piper!”

The two return to their base to strategize, and Ichabod shares some gossip about Miss Betsey Ross, saying “the woman was relentless.” Ichabod! Lets stop with the 18th century slut-shaming! Anyway, Abbie thrashes her way loose form the show for a moment, and asks a reasonable question, “If the Pied Piper is a German fairy tale figure, how can he show up in America?” Ichabod clears up her confusion by telling her about a different mythological piper, who called a whole troop of Redcoats outside one night and murdered them all. But why would an assassin who killed Redcoats target a little girl? They record Ichabod playing the flute so Abbie can hear it on her phone, and Ichabod follows her into the woods, hoping that she’ll lead them to the Piper and Sarah. He tells her he’ll be with her every step of the way. They find the scene of a struggle, with blood splatter on several trees. And there’s a man behind a rock! It’s the Piper! No wait, it’s only Hawley.

Sleepy Hollow "Go Where I Send Thee"

Hawley trying really hard to think about something other than money.

Oh, but he’s wounded! He must have sliced himself on his pucca shells… He says there’s still time to save the little girl and explains, by way of flashback, that he’s been hired to track down a bone flute. He struggled with the Piper, which is why he’s all scratched up. It turns out that Daniel Lancaster was behind the murder of the Redcoat regiment! He paid a demonic mercenary to lure them all out and kill them after they were rude to his daughters. But, being an idiot, he promptly betrayed the Piper, and ever since one Lancaster daughter has disappeared on her tenth birthday in each generation. Which somehow Abbie didn’t realize until just now.

Abbie overrides Ichabod’s refusal to work with such a “callous brigand” and agrees to swap the flute for Hawley’s help in finding Sarah. Ichabod haaaaates moral compromise. But no matter! He entrances Abbie again, and Hawley joins them in their search. Finally, Abby leads them to an underground lair. Wait, another one? Seriously, how the hell is Sleepy Hollow still standing? Between all the lairs, pits, tunnels, caverns, and weapons caches, there is no foundation left. Did they take the phrase “hollow” literally? Cause at this point the town is built like a cheap chocolate Easter bunny. But I digress. The team heads underground, and we learn that the poor kid has stumbled onto the set of True Detective.

Sleepy Hollow "Go Where I Send Thee"

Oh yay. Bone lair.

There’s an underground, stone-lined lair, complete with hanging meat and clanking rusty chains—where do these horrifying demonic killers get all these chains? Do they have their own section at Home Depot? Abbie finds Sarah, chained in a circular tunnel, exposed to direct sunlight. Perhaps Piper thinks she’s a vampire? Abbie runs to her to work on the chain, while Ichabod helpfully says “We’re not alone” just as Hawley gets a bead on Piper, who definitely used up this week’s budget on creepy.

He starts BAMFing all over the room, and then emits this horrible glass-shattering sound like pissed-off Kardashian. Ichabod grabs the kid and they flee, but not before Hawley manages to rig up some adhesive iPhone bombs to detonate the lair.

Sleepy Hollow "Go Where I Send Thee"

GAAAAAAHHHHHH MAKE IT STOP

Once safely-ish outside, Hawley demands his flute. Ichabod calls him a self-serving reprobate, while Abbie tries to reason with him that he’s involved in the Apocalypse now, like it or lump it. “That’s why God invented the shot glass,” Hawley says, and just like that I’m on his side. “But it’s the End of Days!” Abbie emphasizes, but there is no end to Hawley’s snark. “Oh? Which version? I’ve heard at least 200 of ’em. And they each have their own unique collectibles.” Aw, man, Hawley, if you’re going to scoundrel this hard, the writers must have quite a redemption planned for you. Abbie sighs, concedes defeat, and takes the flute out. Ichabod is disgusted, but then Abbie snaps the flute in half.

Hawley accepts defeat graciously. “See you in the next round,” he says, and heads off to what I’m assuming is a tricked out VW bus with a What Would McConaughey Do? bumper sticker on it next to one of those silver Flying Spaghetti Monster magnets. Or hell, maybe it’s a Jeep?

They take the kid the rest of the way home, and then regroup at their office. (No sign of Reyes, which is really working for me.) Abbie arms herself, and introduces Ichabod to the joys of noise-cancelling earbuds. But obviously something’s wrong, cause we’ve got about ten minutes left because Sarah’s mom was nowhere near as exultant as she should have been. They spend five minutes online like they should have at the beginning of the episode, and discover the proof of the thing Hawley told them a few hours earlier: one girl from each generation has disappeared form the Lancaster family. Somehow no one brought that up before. Like, no one. Like, a kid disappeared, and no one on the whole police force thought to look into the family’s past, or notice that Sarah’s aunt disappeared when she was ten, and just like that the show has found a way to make me miss Morales. It turns out that the one time a kid was recovered in the past, all the kids later died of a horrible illness. Ichabbie look at each other, stricken, as we cut to Sarah’s mom looming in the doorway, watching her daughter sleep.

By the time Ichabbie get to the house, the two older kids are already being rushed to the hospital, and Sarah and her mom are back in the woods. Ichabod steals Daniel Lancaster’s sword, declaring it a “matter of honor” to slay the Piper with it. They calm him down just in time for the Piper to attack! Abbie unloads her gun into him, and then Ichabod follows him back down into the lair. He’s doing well until the earbuds are knocked loose, then the Piper unleashes a horrible scream. Ichabod finally whacks him in the foot with a rock, and suddenly there’s Abbie, skewering the bastard with the antique sword. Ichabod looks both grateful and annoyed that he needed rescuing.

They all head back, and Abbie takes Ichabod for a cappuccino. At first Ichabod is horrified that a tiny swallow of coffee topped with too much foam is “equal to the cost is equal to three Tennessee stallions”—but then he actually drinks it. We’ve found another modern thing Ichabod likes, everyone! And Abbie is actively gloating about their victory over the Piper. Finally, they have an unambiguous win here: kid saved, family healed, Piper killed, and Hawley was only rewarded with a worthless broken pipe… But wait! Hawley sells the pipe to Henry! Who is grinding the bone into a powder! And tasting it! Eww! What does he mean, “It’s perfect?” Perfect for what, Henry?

Sleepy Hollow "Ho Where I Send Thee"

Right? RIPPED.

Oh, wait, did I forget to mention Irving? Cause he’s here. He reads Revelation and has a vision of himself as a soldier in War’s army, and he is ripped. He meets with Henry, words are exchanged, chess pieces are moved both literally and as metaphors, and our good Horseman directs the former Captain to Eziekiel, Chapter 18:4—“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Oh, this is not going well.

Notes & Errata

So, what’s the deal with the title? “Go Where I Send Thee” is a traditional spiritual, particularly popular in the African-American community. It’s usually sung as a Christmas song, because it refers to Jesus’ birth, and it’s been covered by Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, and Natalie Merchant, among others. But this doesn’t seem to work, because the Piper isn’t sending anyone anywhere—I mean, unless the sweet release of death is a place? Instead, he’s luring them to come to him, which is a very different implication. I just moved into a new apartment, so I don’t have access to my usual library of Bibles in various translations (no, really), but maybe it has something to do with Ezekiel? Within the episode, Henry sends Irving to the Book of Ezekiel when he demands answers. Withing the Hebrew Bible, God explicitly sends Ezekiel to the Israelites to be a prophet, And within the New Testament, Ezekiel is one of the biggest sources for the visions in the Book of Revelation. All of this feels like a stretch, though…anyone have any thoughts?

How awful was the throwaway line that the flutes are made from the bones of the Piper’s victims?

One of the things I liked about this episode is simply that Abbie solved a case. It’s been pointed out that Mulder and Scully were actually terrible FBI agents (they hardly ever arrested anyone) so I’m glad the show is giving us Abbie at work in a way that justifies her employment with SHPD.

Although, come to think of it: what the hell does the rest of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department do all day? No one else could do a Google search on the Lancasters, and notice that half their family has disappeared? Not even remotely suspicious?

No Jenny today. Imagine me doing my best “pissed-off Jenny” face, folding my arms over my chest, and making significant eye contact with a diverse array of weaponry.

Wither Katrina? Wither Franklinstein? (Is it mean that I miss Franklinstein more than Katrina?)

I finally figured out why I’m liking this season more than last so far: toward the end of last season, the show became much more about Ichabod’s family issues, and bogged down a bit in Mison’s beautiful, soulful eyes. However, so far this season’s engine seems to be Abbie’s determination to keep them on track, and her focus on their mission. The two of them have equalized again, and the writers have pulled Ichabod back from the brink of a Gary Stu abyss.

Ichabod Struggles with Modernity

Sleepy Hollow "Go Where I Send Thee"

The perfect amount of foam.

Well, the driving, obviously, but if I’m being honest I felt a little cheated that he already knew how to drive. It’s really fun to see Ichabod the NASCAR hopeful, but I wanted to see more of him being awestruck by the workings of the machine, looking at the engine, etc.

Also, why does he know that Japanese phrase?

Cappuccino!!!! Oh, if anything was going to rival Season 1’s doughnut holes, it is this. That foam mustache! That look of pure joy! He wasn’t that happy when he got Katrina out of Purgatory.

Abbie Struggles With…

Martyrdom! I’m loving this development—ever since “The Sin Eater” Abbie has been throwing herself at opportunities to sacrifice herself for the cause. I love it not because I want her to die, obviously, but that usually the tortured lone hero shtick gets handed to the dude. Mulder putting himself in harm’s way and destroying his life for The Truth, while Scully, who repeatedly said she wanted a normal life, was victimizes, not martyred. I also love that Ichabod has noticed it, and tries to talk her down.

Irving Struggles With…

The Eternal Damnation of His Immortal Soul! Um, oops?

I kind of want Bibles to burst into flames every time Irving touches them.

Is he really going to fall for Henry’s line about helping his family? You know he’s a Horseman, and he knows you know, so maybe come up with some sort of plan that doesn’t involve trusting him at all?

And speaking of Irving’s family, why haven’t they visited? If someone’s doing time for you, you visit them. If someone damns themselves to the infinite fires of Hell for you, you really visit them.

 

That’s all I’ve got for now: what does everyone think? Did I miss anything? Is Hawley going to be the Poochie of Sleepy Hollow, or is he working?


Leah Schnelbach will stare at the cappuccino picture as long as necessary to get the image of the Piper out of her mind. She has Twitter!

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